Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Publisher's note; The Charles Smith Blog is taking a break; Back soon; Keep the tips and suggestions flowing; Cheers. Harold Levy;


PUBLISHER'S NOTE: Dear reader; I am taking a short break pending completion of a writing assignment.  In the meantime,  please keep me informed about  any new cases  or developments so that I can get caught up quickly on my return.  Best wishes. Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog. PS: Check out reporter Dave Mann's reaction to Ed Graf's surprise guilty plea at  The Texas Observer over the next few days. He has put a lot of time and thought into reporting the case.

 http://www.texasobserver.org/

 PUBLISHER'S NOTE:  I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
 
http://smithforensic.blogspot.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com.

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog; 

Bulletin: Ed Graf: Texas: KCEN reports that he reached a plea deal with prosecutors, pleaded guilty Tuesday afternoon and was sentenced to 6o years in penitentiary...More later. HL.

Ed Graf Pleads Guilty

(KCEN) -- Ed Graf reached a plea deal with his prosecutors on Tuesday. He plead guilty on Tuesday afternoon. The prosecution and the defense each gave their closing arguments on Monday. Graf was being retried for the 1986 murder of his two stepsons. The judge has sentenced him to 60 years in penitentiary.

See related News 25 (KXXV) story: While a McLennan County jury was deliberating the guilt or innocence of Ed Graf Tuesday, Graf entered a plea agreement and was sentenced abruptly to 60 years. Graf admitted to setting a backyard fire in 1986 that killed his two stepsons, Joby and Jason. He pleaded guilty to two counts of murder. He was originally convicted in 1988 of setting the fire, but was given a new trial after experts raised questions about the testimony of fire investigators at his first trial.  The plea agreement calls for two 60 year sentences to be served concurrently. Graf has served 28 years behind bars and will be eligible to apply for parole immediately......... The judge sent jurors home after more than six hours of deliberations Monday, with instructions to return to court Tuesday morning. During that time, the jury sent three notes to the judge.  First they wanted to know how many jurors it takes to reach a unanimous verdict. Then they said they were stuck at 10 to 2 and needed help.  The judge told them to keep working.  Finally, they asked to have some testimony from the trial read back to them. The state and defense both gave jurors a lot to think about Monday.  During closing arguments, prosecuting attorneys told the jury they don't need to know how Graf got the boys in the shed or how he started the fire in order to find him guilty.  District Attorney Abel Reyna said, "We do know Ed Graf set that fire. How he pulled this off, there's only four that know.  Two of them he killed, one of them is sitting here and the other he has yet to meet." But the defense maintained that the fire was nothing more than a tragic accident started by a pair of rambunctious kids. "Defense attorney Walter Reaves said, "Two boys lost their life that day.  Ed Graf lost two adopted sons, subsequently lost his only child, his marriage. Twenty eight years later, we are now here to give him his life back.""

 http://www.kxxv.com/story/26835286/graf-jury-deadlocked-deliberations-to-continue-tuesday

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
 
I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
 
http://smithforensic.blogspot.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com.

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Monday, October 20, 2014

Grace and Matthew Huang: Qatar; Final verdict on their appeal set for November 30, the Associated Press reports. The Huangs have insisted that their daughter, who was born in Ghana, died of medical problems complicated by unusual eating habits. But prosecutors maintain that the couple had denied food to Gloria and said the child was locked in her room at night. U-T San Diego.


STORY: "Final ruling set for US couple convicted in Qatar," by reporter Abdullah Rebhy, published by the Associated Press on October 20, 2014.

PHOTO CAPTION: American couple Grace and Matthew Huang, sentenced to jail over charges they starved their 8-year-old adopted daughter to death, talk before they meet with U.S. Ambassador to Qatar, Dana Shell Smith, at a hotel in Doha, Qatar, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. The American couple were released from prison in November, but were banned from leaving Qatar during their trial. Their appeal begins on Monday.
GIST: "An American couple convicted in Qatar of child endangerment will receive a final verdict on their appeal on November 30, a Qatari judge announced on Monday. Matthew and Grace Huang of Los Angeles were originally jailed on murder charges following the January 2013 death of their adopted daughter Gloria. They were released from prison last November, but banned from leaving during the trial. In March, the court sentenced them to three years in prison for child endangerment. The Huangs, of Asian descent, have remained out of prison during their appeal. They have insisted that their daughter, who was born in Ghana, died of medical problems complicated by unusual eating habits. "It feels like there is no end to this," Matthew Huang told reporters outside the courtroom Monday. "The Qatar government is ignoring the calls of the U.S. government for our release." The prosecution alleged that the couple had denied food to Gloria and said the child was locked in her room at night. The girl was pronounced dead when the Huangs took her to the hospital in January 2013. The case has raised concerns about possible cultural misunderstandings in Qatar, where Western-style adoptions and cross-cultural families are relatively rare. An investigative report by the Qatari police had focused partially on why the Huangs would adopt children who did not share their "hereditary traits", according to the family's website. The Huangs will be able to take their case to a higher court after the appeals verdict, though Qatar's highest judicial body traditionally rules in favor of the lower court's rulings."
The entire story can be found at:

http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/oct/20/final-ruling-set-for-us-couple-convicted-in-qatar/

 PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
 
I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
 
http://smithforensic.blogspot.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com.

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Ed Graf: Retrial: The jury is out; The Texas Observer's Dave Mann says the essence of the case is: "Will the jury go with their heads or their hearts, with the scientific evidence or with their suspicions?" Related story; Jury deadlocked six hours into deliberations; Returning to court Tuesday morning;


STORY: "Jury begins deliberations in Ed Graf  re-trial" by reporter Dave Mann, published by the Texas Observer on October 20, 2014.

GIST: "Ed Graf’s fate now lies with a Waco jury. Testimony in Graf’s controversial re-trial concluded on Friday, and attorneys presented their closing arguments this morning. The six men and six women of the jury will now decide if they believe that Graf murdered his 8- and 9-year-old stepsons by starting a 1986 fire in a shed behind his house; or if Graf was wrongly convicted and spent decades in prison for what was actually an accidental fire.........But the most stunning testimony came from a jailhouse informant. Fernando Herrera, an inmate at the McLennan County jail who said he got to know Graf over the past few months, was likely the most controversial of the more than 30 prosecution witnesses. Herrera testified, as Tommy Witherspoon, the Waco Tribune-Herald’s long-time courthouse correspondent reported, that Graf confessed the crime to him in detail.........Defense lawyers sought to discredit Herrera, pointing out that he has at least six known aliases and more than a dozen convictions. They also noted that Herrera had asked for preferential treatment in jail multiple times before contacting prosecutors about the Graf case. Still, Herrera claimed prosecutors weren’t giving him anything in exchange for his testimony. Defense attorneys also noted how unbelievable it seems that Graf would spend 25 years in prison, then, after his conviction was overturned, confess to a random jail inmate just before his retrial. Moreover, jailhouse informants don’t have the best track record, as the Innocence Project reports. The defense team built its case on the scientific evidence. Doug Carpenter, a nationally renowned fire expert, was the key witness. He testified that the high carbon monoxide levels in the boys’ bodies point to an accidental fire (gasoline/arson fires typically result in low carbon monoxide levels. More on that here.) The defense also offered evidence that the boys had played with matches on several occasions and theorized that the boys had started the accidental fire themselves. In his closing argument, prosecutor Michael Jarrett told the jury to ignore the scientific testimony and to go with their “heart,” as Witherspoon reported on Twitter. That’s the essence of the case: Will the jury go with their heads or their hearts, with the scientific evidence or with their suspicions?"

The entire story can be found at:

http://www.texasobserver.org/jury-begins-deliberations-ed-graf-re-trial/

See related KXXV story; Juey deadlocked after six hours deliberations; Returning to court Tuesday morning;

 http://www.kxxv.com/story/26835286/graf-jury-deadlocked-deliberations-to-continue-tuesday

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
 
I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
 
http://smithforensic.blogspot.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com.

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;




Reginald Tanubagijo: California; Shaken Baby Conviction; Tanubagijo testified that he neglected to tell anyone that as Buddy began to choke, he reached over to where the child was placed in a chair on top of the table, causing it to topple over onto the tile floor. He testified that he was afraid and ashamed to tell anyone immediately. He is seeking a new trial; The Reporter;


STORY: "Suisun City foster father convicted in infant death case to argue for new trial," by reporter Ryan Chalk, published by The Reporter on October 17, 2014.

SUB-HEADING: "New trial motion expected in 2010 infant death case."

GIST: "A former Suisun City foster father who was convicted of second degree murder in July was back in Solano County Superior Court on Friday, although attorneys delayed the setting of a date to argue for a new trial. Reginald Tanubagijo was convicted by a jury of second degree murder and felony child abuse charges in connection with the Nov. 29, 2010, death of an infant in his care. The baby was rushed to a hospital that night after Tanubagijo told paramedics it began choking on milk, however, tests revealed it had suffered head trauma, according to testimony........Medical experts for the prosecution included their opinion that the injuries Buddy suffered could be labeled as abusive head trauma, formerly known as shaken baby syndrome. Investigators, aware of the child's head injuries, interviewed Tanubagijo twice in the days after he made the initial 9-1-1 call. Jurors watched a video recording of his second interview with investigators, in which he states that Buddy fell from the kitchen table. Late in that second interview, Tanubagijo admitted to shaking the baby four-to-five times in an attempt to revive it after the fall.........Tanubagijo took the witness stand in his own defense and testified that he neglected to tell anyone that as Buddy began to choke, he reached over to where the child was placed in a chair on top of the table, causing it to topple over onto the tile floor. He testified that he was afraid and ashamed to tell anyone immediately. Tanubagijo's defense attorney is expected to file a motion for a new trial, and at a prior hearing, allegations of potential juror misconduct were indicated as a possible argument. Tanubagijo was ordered back to court on Dec. 2, for the setting of a date when attorneys will argue the new trial motion.
The entire story can be found at:

 http://www.thereporter.com/crimebeat/ci_26752015/suisun-city-foster-father-convicted-infant-death-case

  PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
 
I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
 
http://smithforensic.blogspot.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com.

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;




Sunday, October 19, 2014

Hannah Overton: Texas; Prosecutors to retry her; Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned her conviction in September citing ineffective trial counsel at her 2007 trial for the death of Andrew Burd. Overton contended Andrew had emotional and medical problems, including an eating disorder in which he'd consume odd food items. An autopsy showed elevated sodium levels in his body.


STORY: "Prosecutors to retry woman in foster child's death," published by Associated Press on October 17, 2014.

GIST: "Prosecutors say they'll retry a South Texas woman whose capital murder conviction in the 2006 salt poisoning death of her 4-year-old foster son was overturned. Nueces County District Attorney Mark Skurka said Friday that he has ordered a new trial for Hannah Overton of Corpus Christi, who had served seven years of a prison sentence of life without parole. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned Overton's conviction in September, citing ineffective trial counsel at her 2007 trial for the death of Andrew Burd. Overton contended Andrew had emotional and medical problems, including an eating disorder in which he'd consume odd food items. An autopsy showed elevated sodium levels in his body.

The entire story can be found at:

http://www.kxxv.com/story/26817998/prosecutors-to-retry-woman-in-foster-childs-death

See related Wrongful Convictions Blog post:  "She has served seven years of a life sentence for capital murder in the death of her 4-year-old stepson who died of a sodium overdose (salt poisoning).  She truly did have ineffective assistance of counsel, because her attorney did not present the videotaped deposition of a salt poisoning expert saying that the overdose was likely unintentional, and there was nothing she could have done. But here’s the part of the story that really gets me.  Overton had also filed a claim that the prosecution had withheld exculpatory evidence (Brady violation), and the court was presented with both the IAC claim and the Brady claim.  In it’s ruling, the court declined to rule on the Brady claim, saying it was unnecessary since they had granted a new trial based upon the IAC claim.  They let the prosecutor off the hook."

 http://wrongfulconvictionsblog.org/2014/10/17/texas-appeals-court-grants-new-trial-but-lets-prosecutor-off-the-hook/

 PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 
 
Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
 
I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
 
http://smithforensic.blogspot.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com.

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog; 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Shaken baby syndrome: Investigative journalist Lee Scheier reveals the truth about the "Louise Woodward" case - that Democratic candidate for Governor Martha Coakley’s deft misuse of science actually came very close to sending an innocent caretaker to prison for life. The Boston Globe;


COMMENTARY: "Martha Coakley, stop lauding bad science," by Lee Scheier, published by the Boston Globe, on October 16, 2014. Lee Scheier is an investigative journalist who has written extensively for the Chicago Tribune and many other publications. He has spent the last eight years researching a book on shaken-baby syndrome. (Thanks to the Wrongful Convictions Blog for bringing this insightful commentary to our attention. HL);

PHOTO CAPTION: "Martha Coakley, right, embraced Deborah Eappen on Oct. 3. Eappen is the mother of Matthew Eappen, who died in 1997 at the age of 8 months."

GIST: "Coakley’s odd invocation of this case demands that we look at the facts. What cannot be lost in all of this political maneuvering is the truth about the Woodward case and all the thousands of shaken-baby cases before and since Woodward. The truth is that Martha Coakley’s deft misuse of science actually came very close to sending an innocent caretaker to prison for life. At the heart of the Woodward prosecution — and many others like it — is the pseudoscience of the shaken-baby syndrome diagnosis. Anecdotal studies by pediatric neurosurgeon Norman Guthkelch in 1971 and radiologist John Caffey in 1972 and 1974 asserted that the presence of the so-called “triad” — subdural and retinal bleeding plus brain swelling — in an infant constituted certain proof that the last caretaker to hold a baby had “shaken” that child to death. Under Guthkelch and Caffey’s theory, this could be the only cause of death. Because of these studies — and because nearly all shaking cases are have no eyewitness — the presence of the triad was the only evidence necessary to prove murder. In recent years, however, experts have become increasingly skeptical. “The problem lies with Caffey’s level of certainty that subdural bleeding along with bleeding in the eyes could only be caused by shaking,” says Louis Fogg, a professor at Rush University and the former president of the Chicago chapter of the American Statistical Association.........Perhaps most tellingly, Dr. Gulthkelch himself — one of the scientists who first posited the theory — has since voiced concerns about its application in the criminal justice system. Nonetheless, in the face of rigorous scientific evidence to the contrary, many in the medical community still claim that shaken baby syndrome is a valid diagnosis because so many within the medical community support it. But science is not a popularity contest. After all, Galileo was the only scientist of his day who believed that the earth revolved around the sun. And this consensus does nothing to alter the fact that, to this day, there has never been an experiment that proves a causal link between shaking a baby and death. “An association alone between shaking and the triad contains so much inherent doubt that no jury in good conscience should convict on that evidence alone,” says Fogg. “You need strong experimental evidence of causation if you’re going to send someone to prison.” This lack of strong experimental evidence of causation did not stop Coakley from trying to send Woodward to prison for life. And despite the growing chorus of scientists casting doubt on shaken baby syndrome, such prosecutions continue: In Middlesex County, nanny Aisling Brady McCarthy currently stands accused of shaking 1-year old Rehma Sabir to death. Prosecutors should hang their heads in shame for blindly accepting bad science and bringing these cases to court.
Indeed, Coakley nearly sending a young, innocent woman to prison is nothing to be proud of. It is certainly not worthy of a photo shoot in a political election."
The entire commentary can be found at:

http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2014/10/16/martha-coakley-stop-using-bad-science/HHSGMlgwZMV2cWVhX7QZ4O/story.html

See related Wrongful Convictions Blog post by Phil Locke; "In an op-ed piece that will appear in tomorrow’s (10/19) print edition of the Boston Globe, Lee Scheier takes former prosecutor Martha Coakley to task for her “deft misuse of science” in the SBS conviction of Louise Woodward, a British nanny who was working for the Eappen family when their 8-month-old son Matthew died in 1997. Coakley is currently running for governor of Massachusetts, and recently set up a photo op with Deborah Eappen, Matthew’s mother, trying to defend her record on “protecting children.” This quote from the article:  “Coakley’s odd invocation of this case demands that we look at the facts. What cannot be lost in all of this political maneuvering is the truth about the Woodward case and all the thousands of shaken-baby cases before and since Woodward. The truth is that Martha Coakley’s deft misuse of science actually came very close to sending an innocent caretaker to prison for life.”

 http://wrongfulconvictionsblog.org/2014/10/18/shaken-baby-syndrome-sbs-bad-science-and-the-race-for-massachusetts-governor/

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
 
I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
 
http://smithforensic.blogspot.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com.

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;